art star craft bazaar 2011

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Finally the day came yesterday to set up for my first craft show ever, the Art Star Craft Bazaar in Philadelphia. After many sunny, dry days in a row, we awoke to overcast skies and a 50% chance of rain. I was still excited to get underway, because that's a 50% chance of no rain right?
sketch by Curtis Harkin AIA
I had willing help from my family in the hectic weeks leading up to the show and extra hands the day of to help with set up.  Mom & Dad were there keeping the kids in line and toting loads of stuff up the long incline to the top of multilevel  Penn's Landing. I do feel so fortunate!
Here's how the booth came out after set up. Not far from my husband's sketch, right?
My photographer friend Heather took better pictures than I could. You gotta go see these and the rest of her work.

I enjoyed a few hours of nice traffic, enthusiastic reactions (many high-pitched "aaaaaaw"s), and my first sales using my handy-dandy card reader from Square installed on a smart phone generously loaned to me for the show. Then about half-way through, it started raining and continued off and on for the rest of the afternoon. Most of the lookers and buyers fled except for my diehard friends from New York who stayed to help with take-down.
the Ben Franklin Bridge as seen from Penn's Landing between showers
I took the slow period as an opportunity to check out a little bit of the show, not as thoroughly as when I attend a show as a buyer, but enough to see what good company I was in.
Some cool applique pillows, much different from my own birds and flowers, from dirtsa studio. Where would you ever be able to find anatomical hearts and frog dissections emblazoned on pillows besides an indie craft show? Certainly not Pottery Barn!

Festive buntings from Sweet Old Etcetera. I can totally relate to her vintagey fabric choices.
Some purses that caught my eye from hello bluebird, a brick-and-mortar boutique from Reading, PA that features indie crafters.

Back at the booth we packed damp clothing back into their plastic bins, leaving the tent and tables behind in hopes of a better day Sunday. We had an amazing dinner at Cuba Libre in Old City which was walking distance from the show. I felt more optimistic after a good meal and a glass of sangria...

This morning brought drizzle and a forecast of thunderstorms. That's when I decided to leave my wares home, which we'd brought inside to air out, and abandon the second day of the show. As an indiepreneur, every decision is such a risk. Do I do the show and risk drenching my product? Or do I stay home and risk missing a not-as-bad-as-I-thought day? I felt a little sheepish carting my tent away as most everyone else was mopping up the puddles and preparing to make the best of it, but by then there was no turning back. I emailed the news to any friends that might have planned to see me Sunday and bit my lip as the weather steadily improved throughout the day. I finally lost it when a friend called from the show wondering where I was. I am feeling such regret right now!

What a learning experience, though. It was such a bigger undertaking than I ever imagined between making all the product, getting the display engineered, and figuring out how to take credit cards. As much work as that was, the organizers, Art Star Gallery & Boutique owners Megan & Erin, had so much more to coordinate between gathering volunteers (thank you lovely Lisa who looks like Lisa LaPorta on HGTV), arranging security, and making the process organized for us vendors. All the while they had smiles on their faces. I am choked up with gratitude and a feeling that I let everyone down- friends, family, Megan & Erin, by wimping out on the second day.

One thing is for sure though, I will do another show next season. It ought to be much easier now that I have the tent and all the logistics worked out. And next time I will ignore the Weather Channel and be tougher!